When I discuss archaeogenetics with people they often automatically bring their preconceptions to the table, and reframe my own position in a way to make it more intelligible to them. For example, the ground-breaking paper Reconstructing Indian Population History shows that modern South Asians can be viewed very confidently as a compound between two parent populations which synthesized at some point in the past. These are termed “Ancestral North Indians” and “Ancestral South Indians.”
Several Indians I’ve discussed this issue with on the internet have expressed anger at the ANI-ASI model, suggesting that I support the “discredited ‘Aryan invasion theory’”. There’s an interesting point: I invariably avoid referring to the ANI as Indo-Aryans because I don’t think they were Indo-Aryans. My own position, held with only moderate confidence, is that the ANI pre-date the intrusion of Indo-European populations to the Indian subcontinent. Granted, I do think that Indo-Europeans are exogenous. That is, their point of origin was probably not in India, but rather in Central Asia. There are various reasons I hold to this position, but the biggest issue I have with Indians is that they behave as if the rest of the world does not exist. All their arguments for the indigenous status of Indo-Europeans to India could apply to the Indo-European Greeks (e.g., the Greeks have no memory of a land before Hellas). But that is neither here nor there.
European Misappropriation of Sanskrit led to the Aryan Race Theory:
In 2007, I played a role in a historic milestone when I was invited to address the first Hindu-Jewish Summit. I spoke on the Aryan myth and the suffering that it had inflicted on both religious communities. Contrary to earlier apprehensions of some Hindus that this was a “risky” topic to bring up, the head of the Jewish delegation, Rabbi Rosen, member of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue, was very impressed. The Jewish delegation decided to appoint a team of scholars to study the issue and the references I had supplied. As a result, at the following year’s Summit, a joint declaration was signed, which included the following language from my draft:
“Since there is no conclusive evidence to support the theory of an Aryan invasion/migration into India, and on the contrary, there is compelling evidence to refute it; and since the theory seriously damages the integrity of the Hindu tradition and its connection to India; we call for a serious reconsideration of this theory, and a revision of all educational material on this issue that includes the most recent and reliable scholarship.”
Much of Hindu tradition is a bunch of primitive superstition (and personally I think Vedanta is sophisticated superstition, like almost all of religiously inflected philosophy). Who cares? And before some Hindus bellyache, how about you enjoy this cute reedit: